Brief

The Prevalence and Risk of Malaria in Pregnancy

Malaria poses significant dangers to pregnant women and their fetuses. Pregnant women face greater risks of malaria complications and mortality compared to non-pregnant women of the same age. Malaria in pregnancy can lead to maternal anemia, fetal loss, preterm birth, low birthweight, and cognitive-developmental delays in infants. Of the five malaria parasite species that infect humans, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the major contributors to adverse maternal and pregnancy outcomes. In 2020, malaria in pregnancy was estimated to result in 819 000 low-birthweight babies in sub-Saharan Africa. WHO recommends prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria in pregnancy as well as malaria prevention with long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine from the second trimester onwards in malaria-endemic areas.

By WHO subregion, prevalence of exposure to malaria during pregnancy in 2022 was highest in west Africa, where about 6.4 million (39.3%) of an estimated 16.2 million pregnant women had malaria infections, and in central Africa, where about 3.4 million (40.1%) of the 8.3 million pregnant women were infected with malaria. The prevalence of malaria infection in pregnant women was lower in the subregion of east and southern Africa (27%) than in other subregions in 2022; however, the number of infected women in east and southern Africa (2.9 million) was similar to that in central Africa (3.4 million).

Nigeria, exemplifies the severity of the issue. It accounts for roughly 25% of the malaria burden in the western African region. Studies conducted within the country have shown alarming prevalence rates, ranging from 63.7% to over 99% of pregnant women testing positive for malaria parasites.

At Sociocapital, we pride ourselves on pioneering transformative health research and interventions aimed at improving Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (RMNCH) outcomes. We have partnered with national and international bodies to implement reproductive, maternal and child health interventions, including programs to increase access to critical products and commodities using a blend of public health supply chain and market-system strengthening, accelerating innovations such as the Group Antenatal Care, supporting country transition from ironfolic acid to multi-micronutrient supplementation to enhance nutrition in pregnancy, and integrated demand and supply-side interventions to reduce malaria burden, etc. Explore our work here https://sociocapital.org/publications

landscape shot of African guy and a lady with face mask-market scene in Africa. Kwame Amo/Shutterstock

Impact Investing in the Post-COVID-19 Era: Emerging Opportunities for Businesses in Nigeria

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an additional 97 million people living in poverty in 2020, causing a setback in the goal of ending poverty by 2030.  Nigeria, among other countries with low human development, has a low Human Development Index (HDI) due to poor social infrastructure, high-income inequality, institutional corruption, and other development challenges.

The pandemic has added further stress to Nigeria’s budget and economy, exerting additional pressure on the low foreign reserves and poor debt profile of the country resulting in a drop in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. The fall in FDI inflow could lead to financial instability, weaker infrastructure, a drop in the standard of living, and increase unemployment. The Covid-19 pandemic created a crisis where market volatility intensified and the stock market fell. These have had negative impacts on Nigeria’s economic activities and caused increased uncertainty among investors and adjustment of economic anticipation resulting in high prices of goods and services and services.

As countries recover from the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria needs to explore innovative financing mechanisms to accelerate growth, development, access to jobs, improve livelihood, as well as improve its HDI. There is a lot to do about how donors, philanthropists, development finance institutions, and governments mobilize funding to address the issues of social needs and increase the inflow of investments in Nigeria, using mission-focused investing that delivers social and financial returns.

Men load sacks of rice among other food aid in a truck, to be distributed for those affected by procedures taken to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Abuja, Nigeria, on April 17, 2020. Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

From Pandemic to Prosperity: Mobilizing Private Sector Response Against COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly brought the world to its knees, causing severe economic downturns, job losses, and imposing social restrictions on people. Nigeria, like other nations, had not been spared from the pandemic’s harsh realities, which put a strain on its healthcare system and economy.

Amidst the chaos, the Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) initiative emerged as a shining light of hope, providing much-needed support and relief to vulnerable households and communities and bolstering the healthcare system’s response to the pandemic. The initiative brought together private sector individuals, CEOs, and organizations, backed by prominent Nigerian banks, oil and gas players, and financial investment institutions.

CACOVID’s mandate was clear; to raise funds and provide relief materials to support the Presidential Task Force’s efforts to control the spread of the virus, offer aid to the most vulnerable, and provide the public with critical information on safety measures to adhere to. This coalition’s impact was remarkable as it harnessed resources from various sectors in addressing the pandemic’s impact on the country.

The significance of businesses with clear missions and purposes cannot be overstated, as they can leverage their philanthropic efforts to create social and economic benefits. CACOVID, a private sector initiative that mobilized an all-inclusive collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is an excellent example of this. With sustained support for such initiatives, Nigeria could potentially experience increased prosperity.